Flipped Fire Truck

Palm Beach County Firefighter On Administrative Leave Following Truck Crash

Florida News Palm Beach County

BocaNewsNow.com Obtains Records Withheld By Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Administrative Coverup Casts Dark Shadow On Fearless Fire Rescue Professionals.

Flipped Fire Truck
The driver of the flipped fire truck, above, is now on administrative leave. This truck flipped on October 23rd, 2021, at the intersection of Military Trail and Palmetto Park Road. (Courtesy Erin Youngwirth).

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The firefighter behind the wheel of the fire truck that overturned in Boca Raton on October 23rd is now on administrative leave.

In what has turned into a bizarre coverup by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, Palm Beach County officials have taken it upon themselves to release information to BocaNewsNow.com that Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Spokeswoman Tara Cardoso refused to release over nearly a month.

Despite our repeated requests for information, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue refused to release the name of the employee driving the fire truck that flipped and that person’s employment status. Cardoso also refused to release the value of the fire truck, and answer generic questions concerning PBCFR’s policies for driving during an emergency response.

But other agencies wasted no time in responding to our subsequent requests.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office identified the driver as Samuel Navarette. Police say he ran the red light at Military Trail and Palmetto Park Road while responding to a call. As he drove the truck into the intersection, the driver of a white Toyota Tundra failed to yield. That driver hit the rear side of the fire truck, near the tire, forcing the truck to flip on its side.

Despite the spectacular scene, injuries were minor. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office cited no one in the crash.

But in records released by Palm Beach County officials — not by Fire Rescue — policy is clear. Even a huge fire truck driving to an emergency must pay attention to traffic. Simply put: lights and sirens do not mean that the fire truck driver can drive without exercising care.

“When approaching large, heavily blocked intersections, consideration should be made about shutting off vehicle lights and sirens so as not to force civilian vehicles out into the intersection on the red light,” states a Palm Beach County Fire Rescue handbook obtained by BocaNewsNow.com. “It is the responsibility of each driver to ensure that all personnel are seat-belted in when apparatus is moving and arrive on the scene in a safe but timely manner.”

Accidents happen, and Samuel Navarette has no adverse driving history of note with Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County Fire Rescue’s decision to violate Florida Statute 119 by not responding to our requests makes this incident appear more sinister than it likely is, and casts a dark shadow on the rescue professionals who risk their lives daily around the area. It remains unclear how long Navarette will remain on leave, and whether he is being paid.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office valued the fire truck at $300,000 and states it is “incapacitated.” Palm Beach County self-insures its “assets,” meaning taxpayers will foot the bill for a new truck.

UPDATE: 3:23 PM November 19, 2021: Making the story even more bizarre, Palm Beach County now states that its records were incorrect and the driver, Samuel Navarette, has returned to work. Developing…

 

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